Milestones in Thalassemia
An article on sickle cell disease and thalassemia by Elliot Vichinsky, MD, and these accompanying milestones were published in December 2008 as part of the special ASH anniversary brochure, 50 Years in Hematology: Research That Revolutionized Patient Care.
|Thomas Cooley is the first to describe thalassemia.
|Thalassemia is recognized as a genetic disease.
|Thalassemia is determined to be caused by an abnormal hemoglobin.
|The thalassemia mutation is found to protect against malaria.
|Treatment with regular blood transfusions begins to improve patient survival.
|Prenatal diagnosis for thalassemia becomes available.
|Richard Propper discovers that the iron toxicity caused by frequent blood transfusions can be eliminated with desferoxamine.
|Azacytidine is found to increase fetal hemoglobin in thalassemia patients.
|Bone marrow transplantation is first used to cure thalassemia.
|Oral chelators (such as deferiprone) are shown to be clinically beneficial for the treatment of iron toxicity.
|Specialized radiology imaging identifies iron toxicity in the heart.
|Hepcidin, a hormone that controls iron absorption in the intestines, is first discovered.
|Deferasirox, a new iron chelator, becomes available.
|Gene therapy is used for the first time in a patient with beta thalassemia, a more severe form of the disorder.